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Iliopsoas Syndrome

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Updated November 19, 2007

Iliopsoas Syndrome is one of several conditions that affect the hip joint. It can be related to iliopsoas bursitis (irritation and inflammation of the iliopsoas bursa) or iliopsoas tendinitis (irritation and inflammation of the iliopsoas tendon). The condition occurs more often in gymnasts, dancers and track and field athletes who perform repeated hip flexion movements. The iliopsoas muscles include the psoas major, psoas minor and the iliacus and lie in front of the hip joint. Its main movement is flexion of the hip. The iliopsoas tendon attaches to the thigh bone to the muscle.

Between the tendon and the hip joint is the iliopsoas bursa (a small sac of fluid) that helps reduce friction and provides cushioning. .

Symptoms
Pain in the hip and thigh region, hip stiffness and a clicking or snapping feeling in the hip are signs of iliopsoas injuries. (Snapping hip syndrome may be caused by the iliopsoas tendon catching on the pelvis when the hip is flexed. This may cause a 'snap' in the that may or may not cause pain).

Treatment
Treatment for iliopsoas syndrome is to rest the joint so the inflammation decreases and pain stops.

  • After an injury it's important to rest the injured muscle, sometimes for up to two or three weeks.
  • R.I.C.E - Rest, Ice and Compression and elevation may help.
  • An anti-inflammatory medication can be helpful to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • A stretching program can be started as soon as the pain and swelling subsides.
  • A strengthening program should be used to rebuild the strength of the injured muscle in order to prevent re-injury. Make sure you increase this gradually.

Prevention
As with all overuse injuries, iliopsoas syndrome can be caused by doing too much, too soon. When beginning or stepping up any exercise routine it is important to do so gradually. Follow the ten percent rule to avoid this trap.

Return to Thigh Injury List

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